The global water crisis is one of the biggest challenges across the world, and that’s why Stella Artois and Water.org have joined forces to help fight back. Stella Artois and Water.org have teamed up for the “Pour It Forward” campaign, which will help bring months of clean water to help people in need around the world when people buy Stella beer.
The campaign has brought in Water.org co-founder Matt Damon as well as actress Sarah Jessica Parker, who is reprising her role as the iconic Sex and the City character Carrie Bradshaw to help raise awareness for the campaign.
“Through our partnership with Stella Artois we have already helped change millions of lives, and we have the opportunity to change millions more,” Damon said in a press release. “That’s why we’re asking people to ‘Pour it Forward’ and give access to clean water… simply by enjoying a Stella Artois.”
As part of the campaign, for every six-pack, 12-pack, or bottle of Stella you buy at the bar, you’ll be contributing months of clean water for one person in the developing world. Stella and Water.org started their partnership in 2015, and since that time, the two have been able to bring access to clean water to nearly 2 million people in the developing world.
Check out the new campaign videos with Damon and Parker:
Here’s our full interview with Damon and Water.org co-founder Gary White about working with Stella Artois and fighting the global water crisis:
What made you want to help combat the global water crisis?
Damon: It’s something that affects millions of people around the world. It’s so important for people to have access to clean water. Gary had this incredible insight years ago. He spent his entire adult life in these communities and observed that sometimes the poorest of the poor were paying more than the middle or upper class for water. He knew if you could give those communities the chance to build their infrastructure, it could solve the problem. So he took the concept of microfinance and applied it to water, and we joined forces. By 2012, we hit our first million people, and now we’re hitting over a million people per quarter.
White: Over the last decade of working together, Matt has gone from someone who cared about this and was willing to speak out of it, to now being one of the experts about it now. We get the chance to connect with people in many industries, and telling the story myself and with Matt, and it gives us the chance to bring what we’re doing around the world. We’ve really tried to find innovate solutions to work on this problem that affects so many people around the world. This is not just another water organization, it’s one that wants to drive systematic change and help solve this problem within our lifetime.
What are some ways people can get involved? What’s it been like partnering with Stella Artois for Water.org?
Damon: It’s so easy for people to participate in this effort and get involved. When you’re going to a Super Bowl party, think about grabbing a 12-pack of Stella. By doing it, you’re giving someone clean water in the developing world for a year. It’s just incredible the impact you can have. Of course you can also donate at Water.org. We’re in our fifth year, and we’ve already reached over 1.6 million people just with this partnership, and by 2020 we’re on track to hit over 3.5 million. What’s been great is, you attach yourself to this rocket like Stella, they have these great ways to activate things and get people involved.
White: The interesting thing to me about how the partnership has evolved, from what we did with the Stella chalices to now with this campaign. I had a personal experience with all this already. I was with some people to watch the Chiefs playoff game, and my brother brought a six-pack of Stella, and it had the Water.org logo on it, and it sparked a conversation with everyone. It creates a whole conversation around Water.org and what we’re trying to do, and people want to know what it’s about and what they can do to help.
What’s it been like taking things from the beginning with Water.org to where it’s evolved to now?
Damon: I think it’s gone better than we ever could have hoped. In 2010, we had an event that President Clinton and he looked at the model and he says: “Just keep running the numbers up, run them up. Keep going.” By 2012, we hit our first million people, and now we’re hitting over a million people per quarter, and we’re at 16 million people total. It’s a beautiful story of people solving their own problems if you just give them the chance. And joining in this partnership with Stella has provided a huge platform for us to keep spreading the word and keep it going. We did a Super Bowl commercial this year, and now we have more on the horizon. It galvanizes people to participate when people see the effort is really working.
White: Over the last decade of working together, Matt has gone from someone who cared about this and was willing to speak out of it, to now being one of the experts about it now. Both of us can go out and speak to it. We get the chance to connect with people in any industries, and telling the story myself and with Matt, and it gives us the chance to bring what we’re doing around the world. We’ve really tried to find innovate solutions to work on this problem that affects so many people around the world. This is not just another water organization, it’s one that wants to drive systematic change and help solve this problem within our lifetime.
What adventure has had the greatest impact on you?
Damon: A trip to Zambia inspired me to get involved in the global water crisis. Whether it’s a trip to the developing world or somewhere else, you’re always seeing and learning new things when you’re abroad. I’m affected every time I travel somewhere. With Water.org, Gary and I have been to many different countries together. We’ve had the chance to talk to people and interview them about their experiences—to better understand the kind of impact we’re having and what we can keep doing to help. Those are always special because you can really see the impact on a personal level. The work is very energizing.
What are some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome in building Water.org?
Damon: A big part of it is going out into the field and consulting with our partners. A few years ago we went out and asked them that same question, wanting to know what the biggest bottleneck that you’re encountering. They said the biggest problem was access to affordable capital. So we went back to our microfinance partners, and said the demand is there. But we need to get more money into the system. It’s a constant search for the next barrier and finding ways to knock that down. The numbers and the feedback we’ve gotten has been great, and we want to keep finding ways to support the system and keep working on fighting the problem and how to keep scaling.
White: We hit a big milestone this year with a billion dollars in capital mobilized for the microloans, and I think that speaks to that we’re not just this this large charity that’s out there drilling wells, but we’re changing the face of this issue by access to finance. When you can start putting billions in the numbers that really shows that we are getting great traction.
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